Actuaries contribute to the climate conversation

This article originally appeared in the CIA (e)Bulletin.

By Sandra Caya

We recently celebrated the launch of the Institute’s newest level 2 public statement, Time to Act: Facing the Risks of a Changing Climate.

The statement was developed by members of the Climate Change and Sustainability Committee, who brought their passion, expertise, and detailed research to the project. We’ve seen many positive reactions from the media and stakeholders since launch, with over 800 downloads of the statement and summary, over 1,000 views of the web pages, 200 listens to the podcast episodes, 7,383 impressions and 216 content engagements on social media, and nearly 13 million potential readers of our media outputs. 

We have also had great reactions from stakeholders in government and industry, who have reached out to discuss the issue further, and we have made inroads with new connections for the Institute such as with the United Nations and some of Canada’s First Nations representatives. More importantly, the statement adds a significant piece to the Institute’s knowledge base that all members and the public will be able to draw upon going forward.

A changing climate environment

When the statement was just a rough idea, nearly four years ago, the global climate space was much different than today. The ink on the Paris Agreement had barely dried, zero-emissions country goals were unheard of, and the #ClimateStrike movement was years away. Although some initial thinking on the risks of climate change was taking place within the Institute, there was no defined way forward for Canadian actuaries to contribute to the wider climate conversation.

Since then, hundreds of entities and organizations in the actuarial and financial spheres stepped forward with statements, guidance, and research. That context was essential in helping shape the eventual position of the Institute and allowed us to add our voice to the weight of so many others.

Actuaries and public statements

This is exactly the driving force behind a level 2 statement: we try to identify a topic where there is potential for actuaries to contribute to public dialogue and explore what it means for the profession. The resulting statement is designed to reach governments and leaders, to push forward measured and impactful advice that guides them towards better decision-making.

The Institute’s brand of advocacy is to share ideas and recommendations we believe are in the public interest; it is not the Institute acting like a lobbyist with an “axe to grind” on specific legislation in the spirit of self-interest. Here’s a great article that further defines lobbying vs. advocacy

Diligent, steady, and trustworthy

Our partners, employers, clients, and colleagues already know that the voice of Canada’s actuarial profession is diligent, steady, and trustworthy. By working to influence public policy, by proactively reaching out to the media to address misinformation, and by making more noise about the stories, successes, and personalities of Canada’s actuaries, we make that voice bolder, more powerful, and better recognized in all areas of political, economic, and social decision-making.

Sandra Caya is Director of Communications and Public Affairs at the Canadian Institute of Actuaries.

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